FTW

14 Things You'll Only Understand if You Grew Up in a Big Family

Your family might drive you crazy sometimes, but they're the best built-in friends you could have asked for.

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What most people don’t realize about big families is that there can be so many different levels, branches, and demarcations of “big.” Growing up in a big family doesn't have to mean having a ton of brothers and sisters, though I certainly applaud parents with the bravery and wherewithal to pull off such a feat. For instance, what I lack in extraneous amounts of siblings (I have two, both younger), I make up for in sheer cousinhood, on both sides of the family. And that’s not even getting into the family members in other countries.

That being said, here are 14 blessings, trials, tribulations, and real life struggles you can definitely relate to if you grew up in a big family.

1. When people complain about their families, you just smile and nod because you can't actually relate.

14 Things You'll Only Understand if You Grew Up in a Big Family
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Every family has their issues, don't get me wrong – especially big ones. But it's always rubbed me the wrong way when people complain about their families; more specifically the low levels of interest they have in actually staying in touch with them. Like okay, we get it, you're busy.

And if you come from a particularly crazy breed, I guess I can't really blame you. But when you complain about not wanting to call your mom back – like, ever – I'm afraid I can't relate. Personally, mine asks that I check in with her at least once a day so she knows I’m alive. And I do it, because you know what? She’s, like, the whole reason for my actual existence. Remember that one minute little factor?

Also because she's not a regular mom, she's a cool mom – and I genuinely want to talk to her. (Sorry, had to.)

2. Family reunions are serious business.

Just like birthdays and weddings – and by “serious business,” I mean there’s a LOT of tequila flowing.

3. Finding out someone is an only child and being like, “Oh… That explains a lot.”

14 Things You'll Only Understand if You Grew Up in a Big Family
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Not that you’d really understand the luxury – and loneliness – of not having a sibling in your hair at all times, ESPECIALLY being the oldest.

4. Always getting mistaken for your sister, cousin, second cousin, or that one aunt when she was young.

14 Things You'll Only Understand if You Grew Up in a Big Family
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I'm here to tell you that doppelgangers do exist. And more often than not, you just might be related to them.

5. Watching your siblings and other younger family members grow up before your eyes.

14 Things You'll Only Understand if You Grew Up in a Big Family
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Nothing makes you feel older than that awkward moment when your younger brother is suddenly taller than you! And has his driver's license!

6. Sharing a room was an actual disaster.

Those were dark days, my friends.

7. Whoever yelled “Shotgun!” first as a kid was always the lucky one who got to sit in front.

Until Mom pulled rank, that is.

8. Secrets never actually existed in your house.

You just thought they did. Most notably in the case of most deep, dark, “don’t tell Mom” secrets, which you insisted you’d take to your grave with you but realized a whole decade later that she was fully in the know the entire time.

I mean, c'mon; you and your siblings weren’t anywhere near as slick as you’d like to think you were.

9. In that vein, your secret diary as a kid was never actually “secret.”

14 Things You'll Only Understand if You Grew Up in a Big Family
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You know your sister read yours, because you read hers – and then you both proceeded to write about knowing all of the others’ ~*secrets*~ in your diaries afterwards. Oh, and might I mention this happened more than once? Sibling diary inception, right there.

10. You always had someone to call when you needed back-up.

And still do. Whether you just went through a terrible break-up (in which case, you’ll sic a whole slew of male cousins and brothers on their ass), lost your job, or really just need someone to lean on – even if you’re in a fight with said family member at the time – if you really need them, you can count on your fam to come through.

After all, they’re your support system, and you reserve infinite amounts of pity in your heart for anyone who doesn’t have that in their lives. Seriously.


11. There's a foolproof plan to fall back on when you're stuck with NOTHING TO WEAR(!)

14 Things You'll Only Understand if You Grew Up in a Big Family
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It's called your sister’s closet.

12. Trying to divulge your family tree to someone can be positively mind-boggling.

Flipping through crinkled family photo albums like...

This cousin is your mom’s sister’s son, and this cousin is your dad’s brother’s son, so they’re related to each other through you, and they also happen to be roommates. Oh, her? She's your cousin on your dad's side, the oldest girl of three brothers, whom everyone says looks like your twin.

This one's your sister slash bestie slash partner in crime even though you pushed her off the treadmill once when you were kids and then both started crying. Yes, she is younger. No, you're not twins – even though everyone always seemed to be convinced you were when your kids.

And this, this is the son of your aunt's husband's sister, and he's currently visiting from Germany, and that one's too complicated to explain so you just call him another cousin.

Got it?

13. Just like bringing a S.O. around your family is a pretty big deal.

Not only because they have to learn a great majority of the family tree beforehand. No one would ever expect them to absorb the whole thing in one go. I mean, they’re not superhuman.

14. You will forever have an entire brood of built-in best friends.

14 Things You'll Only Understand if You Grew Up in a Big Family
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And you couldn't be more grateful for it, because you know that the best times of your life are the memories you’ve made and still continue to make with them.

I am a beauty, fashion and lifestyle editor at Livingly. Lover of wine, glitter, festival fashion, and everything op-ed. You can reach me at kimia.madani@livingly.com.
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